MONTREAL — With training camp a month away, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien welcomed the two additions to his roster this summer, saying Daniel Brière and George Parros will fill needs on the team.
Brière has been a great National Hockey League veteran who’s able to raise his game at the right time, Therrien said on Tuesday, weighing in publicly for the first time about the off-season acquisitions.
“One thing I was really impressed about Daniel (is that) he wants to come to play for the Montreal Canadiens,” Therrien said before the start of his charity golf tournament in Terrebonne. “That was important for him. He’s here for the right reason.
“And we all know the success that he’s had in the playoffs.”
The Canadiens signed Brière, a former Philadelphia Flyer, as an unrestricted free agent to a two-year, $8-million contract. In 108 career playoff games, Brière has 109 points, including 50 goals.
The Canadiens will try different line combinations to figure out the right fit for Brière and make sure there’s good chemistry with his linemates, Therrien said.
“We’re going to use those exhibition games to try to see what’s the best fit,” the coach added.
The Habs also acquired 6-foot-5 tough guy Parros from the Florida Panthers.
He’s the type of guy you want on your team, Therrien said.
“He’s a presence. He’s a good teammate,” the coach said. “He will bring some leadership. When we acquired him there were a lot of guys who were really happy to have him on our side.”
Five Canadiens players were pencilled into Therrien’s lineup for his inaugural invitational tournament at Le Mirage Golf Club: P.K. Subban, Lars Eller, Francis Bouillon, Brandon Prust and David Desharnais, as well as Hamilton Bulldogs forward Mike Blunden. The event raised money for the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.
The hockey personalities at the tournament also included Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, the new coach of the Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang and Stéphane Waite, the Habs’ new goalie coach.
The team’s former goaltending coach, Pierre Groulx, whose contract wasn’t renewed, did a fantastic job with the Canadiens, Therrien said.
“We thought that we needed a change at the end of the day,” the coach said. “We have the luxury of getting a guy like Stéphane Waite who was available, who ended up winning two Stanley Cups with two different goalies in the last four years.”
Waite, who was the Chicago Blackhawks’ goaltending coach, has spoken to Canadiens goalie Carey Price a few times this summer.
“It was very basic,” Waite said. “Just introduced myself and talked about what kind of goalie coach I am.
“I know Carey can’t wait to start the season,” Waite said, adding Price told him he wants to win in Montreal.
Waite returned from Chicago 10 days ago and will be back in the office next week to start watching video of Price from last year as he prepares for his new protégé.
Price will attend Hockey Canada’s pre-Olympic camp in Calgary, which starts on Aug. 25, the day after his wedding to fiancée Angela Webber. Price and Subban, who is attending the goaltender’s wedding, are among the 47 players invited to camp who hope to be selected for Canada’s team for the winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
As for the Canadiens, Habs fans can expect the same style of play from the team.
“First of all, I believe the players like our aggressiveness, like the way we’re using our speed,” Therrien said.
“And this is how we got success and this is something that’s not going to change.”
More golf is on the agenda for the Habs in three weeks when the team hosts its annual charity tournament. The Habs’ rookie camp runs from Sept. 5-10, followed the next day by the start of the main training camp.
For video and audio from Michel Therrien’s golf tournament, go to hockeyinsideout.com
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Canadiens centre Lars Eller, left, jokes with defenceman P.K Subban at the Club de golf Le Mirage in Terrebonne prior to a charity golf tournament organized by head coach Michel Therrien to raise money for the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.
Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, The Gazette